Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network has been writing about the rumors he’s hearing down at the Senior Bowl and one of them involves the Philadelphia Eagles. It’s not exactly a shocker but it’s one worth highlighting here nonetheless:
“I was told unequivocally today that tight end Zach Ertz will not play for the Philadelphia Eagles next year. There appears to be some hard feelings how Ertz, a big contributor to the team during their Super Bowl run, was treated last season. Rather than cut Ertz, expect the Eagles to try and trade him.”
Ertz has certainly acted like a player who knows his time in Philly is up. He spent a long time hanging out with Carson Wentz and Jason Kelce on the sideline after the Eagles’ Week 17 game at Lincoln Financial Field. He got really emotional during his locker-room cleanout day interview with the media earlier this month:
Zach Ertz getting emotional in this press conference.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) January 4, 2021
“I think this city is the best city to play for. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. This city means a lot to me. It means a lot to me. I’m thankful. I’m thankful for you [media] guys over the years.” #Eagles pic.twitter.com/Lo16UGxkIZ
One of Zach’s younger brothers, Nic, joined Bleeding Green Nation’s Babes On Broad podcast a couple of weeks ago and talked pretty definitively about his older sibling not returning.
Ertz, who turns 31 in November and desires a contract extension, doesn’t fit the timeline for an Eagles team that’s looking to get younger. Philly can either trade or cut him to clear $4.7 million in much-needed cap space relief this offseason.
It remains to be seen what kind of market Ertz will have. When healthy and effective, he’s one of the very best tight ends in the NFL. Teams will be interested in him. But Ertz is also coming off the least productive season of his career with just 36 receptions for 335 yards and one touchdown. It’s not exactly like the Eagles are selling high on him, especially with other teams knowing he wants out.
The guess here is the Eagles might be able to get a third-round pick or a fourth-round pick at most for Ertz. The Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, and Carolina Panthers are among teams that could use tight end upgrades.
It’ll be sad to see Ertz go if/when it happens. This is a guy who carries a lot of sentimental value in Philly. He’s the only player in franchise history who caught a game-winning touchdown pass in the Super Bowl for the Eagles. He ranks second in all-time Eagles receptions (just 28 behind Harold Carmichael), fifth in receiving yards, and seventh in receiving touchdowns. It’s a shame he won’t be able to spend his entire career with the team that selected him in the 2013 NFL Draft.
But such is the harsh reality of the NFL. The Eagles will look to move forward with Dallas Goedert as their top tight end.
Ertz can’t be officially traded until the new league year begins on March 17. We’ll likely hear more rumors about potential landing spots before then.